Saluting the overachievers, the quiet leaders and the often overlooked athletes in local high school sports.


Haverhill Cross Country


Coach Mike Maguire said, “I really liked the leadership she displayed against Chelmsford, encouraging teammate Brynne LeCours to move up and work with her. We are emphasizing team running and Ivy did a great job modeling it.”

The 5-foot-6 junior is in the Classical Academy. The Hunking School grad also does indoor track and lacrosse. Ivy finds time to bus tables at Joseph’s Restaurant in Haverhill.

Ackerman is the oldest of four with three brothers. Darren is a freshman who plays football for the Hillies. The family has a spider ball python named Emilio and three lizards.

Ivy’s favorites include peanut butter, Rob Gronkowski, the group Cage the Elephant and art teacher Susan Blim.


Methuen Football


The 5-7, 190-pound lineman is, pound for pound, one of the strongest Rangers.

Coach Tom Ryan said, “Brian is the backbone of our offseason workout program.  His leadership in the weight room and how he has helped our younger players develop is immeasurable. He is a big reason why our program has had a resurgence.”Quero, a senior, is a member of the Media Production Club and has a passion for producing videos and photoshop. Brian, who moved to Methuen from Lawrence in sixth grade, has a pit bull named Blue.

The Marsh School graduate lists as favorites the Porsche 911, the TV show “QB 1” Patriot Dont’a Hightower, his 8th grade teacher Stacey Zraket, rapper Tee Grizzley and shrimp Alfredo.


Phillips Soccer


Bhathena is the youngest of three in her family, following soccer player Darian (PA ‘16) and Zenia (PA ‘19). Mom (Jasmin) and Dad (Firdaus) grew up in India.

The Andover resident is a standout outside striker on the pitch and set the school 55-meter hurdles record with a 9.00 last winter.

Soccer coach Lisa Joel said, “Her athleticism and potential are only outdone by her smile and her kindness of character.”

Myra, a Pike School grad, is a peer tutor for math and German and does community service with STEM.

Bhathena’s favorites include pepperoni pizza, the TV show “The Office,” National Team star Megan Rapinoe, Phillips chemistry teacher Keith Robinson and the group Queen.


PMA Cross Country

Pleasure to coach

“Jayden is a hard working, committed athlete who shows great potential and is a pleasure to have on the team,” said Panthers coach Laurie Finn.

The 5-foot-9 freshman is a graduate of Lawrence Catholic Academy. He has an older sister, Jinelfry Rodriguez, who was a top scholar at PMA and just graduated from Notre Dame. Jaden, who moved from Lawrence to Methuen in sixth grade, also has two younger sisters.

Reyes, who will be playing basketball in the winter, aspires to become a psychiatrist. He’s a member of the chorus and student council at school.

His favorites include “Avengers Endgame,” Frank Sinatra, baseball star Mike Trout and his 8th grade history teacher Kevin St. Cyr.


Methuen Volleyball


There are a lot of tough athletes out there but few are tougher than the 5-foot-6 junior defensive specialist.

Coach Matt Twomey said, “She is such a hard worker who has to deal with more than most athletes after having two steel rods inserted into her spine to straighten her back and provide support. She would never tell you or complain when she is dealing with pain.”

She’s second on the team in serve percentage and leads in aces.

Erin, an only child, is ranked in the top 10 percent of her class. She worked at the summer camp at the Marsh School, her alma mater.

Smith’s favorites include mangoes, “Grey’s Anatomy,” ex-Sox great David Ortiz, pre-calculus teacher Kevin Alliette, the movie “Now You See Me” and rapper Post Malone.


Coaches or ADs should send nominations to Unsung Heroes writer Michael Muldoon at

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